Selection and recruitment of pre-registration occupational therapy students in the United Kingdom: Exploring entry criteria across education providers

Sukh Hamilton, Sarah Louise Mcginley*, Alex Bradley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Introduction: Since widening access to higher education became a United Kingdom (UK) governmental priority in the 1990’s, occupational therapy has made little progress in diversifying student and workforce populations that mirror increasingly diverse service user populations. This research aims to, for the first time, map entry criteria across UK pre-registration programmes, while considering fair access and exploring who might be missing at the point of enquiry and entry.

    Method: A cross-sectional quantitative content analysis was conducted of all UK university websites, identifying programme type, academic, professional and alternative entry criteria for 2021/2022.

    Findings: Five entry routes via undergraduate and post-graduate programmes (n = 73) offer limited part-time opportunities (n = 11). Visible academic entry criteria appear weighted towards ‘traditional’ qualifications, while assessment of professional skills at application and selection is explicit for over 75% of programmes. 86% (n = 63) utilise interviews at selection, with 33% (n = 24) not publicly acknowledging alternative access routes into the profession.

    Conclusion: If the profession is to avoid continued stagnation in diversity amongst student populations and successfully reflect service user diversity in the workforce, it is essential UK universities increase parity across academic entry criteria, ensure the visibility of acceptable skills for alternative access and substantially improve flexibility for part-time study.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe British Journal of Occupational Therapy
    Early online date11 Jan 2023
    Publication statusEarly online - 11 Jan 2023


    • Admission
    • occupational therapy
    • inclusive practices
    • widening
    • participation

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